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Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Eve

On a snowy Chistmas Eve in Rochester, New York, 1989, a tradition was born that continues every year. Excited children (first two, then three and now almost all grown to adulthood), surround Dad on the living room sofa for his annual reading of The Polar Express. Each year the story remains the same, but somehow Dad adds a new touch with every reading ~ a special sound effect, a character's voice ~ small details which bring the story to life and bring smiles and sometimes laughter from the sofa every Christmas Eve.

After remembering how they all still want to hear Santa's bell, the children on the sofa snuggle closer to Dad as he sits up a bit straighter, clears his throat, and introduces "Luke, Chapter 2", music which, he explains, was composed by his fourth grade parochial school teacher, Mr. "Soreguts." Of course, there is a bit of irreverent giggling from the sofa at the sound of the teacher's name, and as years progress, giggling develops into gastrointestinal jokes which will finally be settled by Dad quietly stating, "Yes, but he had a good heart." That is the cue that the performance is about to begin, and silence prevails.

"And it came to pass..." Dad sings out confidently, peacefully, the words from the second chapter of Luke so committed to memory as well as the lilting melody, nowhere on paper but each year the same hauntingly beautiful tune. Originally composed for a school choir, the children on the sofa wait for their parts, small choral interludes interspersed after key phrases, which over the years will also come to be accompanied with dramatic sweeping arm movements. "...And on earth peace. Peace. Peace on earth." Dad's clear voice quietly trails off.

Applause follows the performance and the group moves to the piano with Mom to finish the evening with carols. All the favorites are sung ~ "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing," "Angels We Have Heard on High," "Deck the Halls," "Joy to the World," and many more. The final song of Christmas Eve that night, and every Christmas Eve since, is one of Andrew's (then almost 4 years old) favorite songs, "Old Toy Trains" recorded by Raffi.

Old toy trains, little toy tracks
Little toy drums coming from a sack
Carried by a man dressed in white and red
Little boy, don't you think it's time you were in bed?
Close your eyes, Listen to the skies
All is calm, all is well
Soon you'll hear Kris Kringle and the jingle bells

Bringin' old toy trains, little toy tracks
Little toy drums coming from a sack
Carried by a man dressed in white and red
Little boy, don't you think it's time you were in bed?

Of course, the last line is Andrew's and sister's cue that now's the time for bed so that Santa can come. Bedtime hugs and kisses are shared, and over the years, Dad will tuck the children ~ first two, then three ~ into their beds for Christmas Eve prayers.

Tonight, Christmas Eve 2007, was really no different ~ 3 excited siblings squeezed on the living room sofa, surrounding Dad; "The Polar Express"; Dad's singing of Luke, Chapter 2; carol singing arond the piano (Mom did pretty well with one hand this year!); and finally, a very teary rendition of "Old Toy Trains." Andrew, once almost 4, is now almost 22, and is making plans to leave in June with the Peace Corps. As we sang the final chorus, we all realized that our "little boy" would be spending his next Christmas somewhere in sub Saharan Africa. The hugs we all shared tonight after the song were especially dear and warm.

A very merry, blessed Christmas to all...

Guest Blogger ~ Skippy the Wonder Dog

Today's blog entry will be brought to you by our talented guest blogger, Skippy the Wonder Dog. New to the world of blogging, Skippy details his daily highlights while visiting with his Mamie and Papa over the holidays (Skippy doesn't realize he's been ditched by his family who are Christmasing without him in California! Shhh! Don't tell!)

You can catch up on Skippy's latest adventures here: Skippy the Wonder Dog.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Remembering When...

Two forwards in the past couple of days have made me remember warmly....

First, this link to the real story behind Dan Fogelberg's Christmastime classic Same Old Lang Syne ~ . Quite the story and yes, it explains the song so well!

And, as I was browsing Studio Marcy, and saw the Chatty Cathy bead (see below), I immediately recalled my 4th Christmas when ALL I wanted from Santa was a Chatty Cathy doll. Santa, indeed, delivered, but to my (any my parents!) dismay, Cathy wasn't so "chatty" after all but rather sputtered a lethargic, intelligible stream of syllables each time I eagerly pulled her cord. Cathy was returned to the "elves' workshop" for a few days and came back as good as new to my sheer 4-year-old delight.

In my email this morning was this reminder of "Chatty Cathy," along with a host of baby boomers memories, reminding me of the "good ol' days" (or maybe reminding me of how old I'm getting?).

Featured Artist ~ Studio Marcy

I am thrilled to share a fellow street team member’s shop today, Studio Marcy. Marcy Lamberson, a glass artist from Atlanta, Georgia, creates the most wonderful whimsical beads and sculptures, most of which will definitely make you smile!

Marcy explains that often her inspiration comes “while working out of my sunroom studio overlooking my garden and birds, squirrels, chipmunks and occasional wandering possums, sometimes I just made them into beads, too” with clothes and jewelry, turning them into fun glass pieces. She also adores children’s toys, art, gnomes, and nature- especially ocean/beach related items.

First a watercolor painter, Marcy started noticing the similarities between the mediums of artisan glass and watercolors, light shining through transparent colors, layering colors to form new ones, and mixing colors in both mediums. She explains that “once I started doing fun and funky sculptural beads, I found that I loved seeing people laugh and smile when looking at them and I loved creating them even more.”

A visit to Studio Marcy is guaranteed to bring a smile to your face, too! And, if the visit inspires you to think of your own unique bead idea, Marcy will be glad to design a custom treasure for you.

You can find StudioMarcy at:


Thursday, December 20, 2007

Writers' Strike...

Not's a new treasury I just managed to get over on Etsy ~ some fun, wonderful ideas for writers or just anyone looking for something different to add to your desk! Take a peek at WRITERS' Strike!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Dan Fogelberg, August 13, 1951 ~ December 16, 2007

His albums...yes, albums :-), are still among some of my favorite music, speaking stories to me in that special bridge of time as I gingerly found my way from adolescence to adulthood.

Nether Lands
High on this mountain
The clouds down below
I'm feeling so strong and alive
From this rocky perch
I'll continue to search
For the wind and the snow and the sky
Oh I want a lover and I want some friends
And I want to live in the sun
And I want to do all the things that I never have done
Sunny bright mornings and pale moonlit nights
Keep me from feeling alone
Now I'm learning to fly and this freedom is like
Nothing that I've ever known
Oh I've seen the bottom and I've been on top
But mostly I've lived in between
And where do you go when you get to the end of your dream
Off in the Nether Lands I heard the sound
Like the beating of heavenly wings
And deep in my brain I can hear a refrain
Of my soul as she rises and sings
Anthems to glory and anthems to love
And hymns filled with earthly delight
Like the songs that the darkness composes to worship the light
Once in a vision I came on some woods
And stood at a fork in the road
My choices were clear yet I froze with the fear
Of not knowing which way to go
Oh, one road was simple acceptance of life
The other road offered sweet peace
When I made my decision
My vision became my release
- Dan Fogelberg, 1977

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Shoulder Surgery

Surgery was Wed....finally made it home late yesterday...OUCH! :-{

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Who Is Earle Bruce?

Since I've been asked a couple of times now, I'm realizing that not everyone who reads my blog is a die-hard Buckeye fan and so, using the wonderful tool, Wikipedia, I will answer the burning question....."WHO IS EARL BRUCE?"

Earle Bruce (born March 8, 1931) is a former college football and arena football coach from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Bruce was the successor to legendary Ohio State head coach Woody Hayes, and was an excellent college football coach in his own right. In 2002, Earle Bruce was inducted in the College Football Hall of Fame.

After Woody Hayes was fired from Ohio State, Bruce was offered that head coaching position. Bruce coached Ohio State from 1979-1987. In the first year, Ohio State went undefeated in the regular season and played in the Rose Bowl, losing the game and the national championship by a single point. In 1987, he was fired just prior to the last game of the season—against Michigan—but was allowed to finish out the year. Bruce was able to defeat Michigan at Ann Arbor. This is something Ohio State would not do again until 2001 under head coach Jim Tressel. After the game, Bo Schembechler told Bruce, "I always mind losing to Ohio State but I didn't mind so much today."


The evening of OSU's winter quarter graduation, 1981, at the Fontanelle Restaurant, a quiet Italian place on North High, my parents and I were celebrating (actually, I think they were probably REALLY celebrating ~ after all, I had changed my major 4 times....what is it about us creative types?) My father glanced at a nearby table and then whispered, "Hey, that's Coach Bruce." Of course, we all looked, trying to be discreet but not succeeding, and then replying, "Yes, it is, but don't say anything...leave him alone." Nope, not what happened....Proud Papa grabs a cocktail napkin and next thing you know is over at the table explaining that his daughter just graduated from "this fine institution, etc. and wouldn't you love to give her an autograph?" Hence, Earl Bruce's autograph on a a box....somewhere in my basement! :-)

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Featured Etsy Artist - Berry Patch Designs

Three incredible shops to browse tonight and none will disappoint! All three are the result of the talented work of Etsy jewelry designer, S. Strain. She explains that “hearing and seeing that people enjoy wearing (her) jewelry is one of the best things about designing jewelry.” She also loves combining the varying colors and textures of the natural world in her designs and does so using high quality stones, pearls, glass, crystals, and metal beads. You will also find sterling silver and copper with occasional gold filled or vermeil in the designs which are suitable for a wide range of styles.

Silver Shadow is the most recently opened Etsy shop, allowing this artist to focus solely on her design work. Berry Patch Designs, a collaborative effort with two other friends, includes more beautiful handmade jewelry by all three women. The third shop, Under Current, is described as her “alter-ego” or “alternate reality” shop where this creative artist offers her “edgiest” designs and creations for your consideration. With all of the choices, you are sure to find something to please you or someone you’re shopping for!

You can find BerryPatchDesigns at:


Friday, December 7, 2007

5 Random Things...'s happened...I've been "tagged" by Susan, Red Bess Bonney, ~ so here we go....5 random things about me:

1. I hate country music, but I met my husband when he asked me to square dance....yeah, figure that one out....

2. I have Earle Bruce's autograph....on a a box....somewhere in my basement.... :-)

3. You don't want to see my basement.

4. I am a bibliophile ~ so many books, so little time.

5. The 80's was not a good "hair" decade for me. Don't ask ~ and definitely don't look for pictures.

OK, now I'm tagging 7 others...Tricia ~ Lazy T Crochet, Kristy ~ Simply Shiny, Debra ~ Hearts Desire Beads, Becky ~ Domestic Goddess, Serena ~ Pink Ice Jewels, Joey & Aleethea ~ Joey & Aleethea, and Gail, Shabby Cottage Studio.